Toronto Symphony Orchestra Announces 95th Season

Fresh from a memorable, ambitious tour of Israel and Europe, the intrepid musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) jump back into action. The TSO's 95th season is coming to an end, but the month of June is bursting with highly anticipated events, such as the new, semi-staged production of Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins; William Walton's mighty Belshazzar's Feast; and Carl Orff's epic Carmina Burana-all part of this season's final instalment of The Decades Project, in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Highlighting the 100th birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, the TSO pays tribute to one of the greatest singers of all time. And the Orchestra presents a nostalgic journey through memorable music from Canadian stage and screen.

On June 2 and 3, TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis returns to the podium for Belshazzar's Feast. The rarely performed biblical oratorio by Sir William Walton depicts the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from captivity in Babylon. Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson takes centre stage, joined by the 200 voices of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Huddersfield Choral Society combined. Music by Hindemith and Berg's Violin Concerto-featuring TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow-round out the program.

A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald wraps up this season's Pops Series on June 6 and 7. TSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads the celebration, as dazzling vocalists honour the jazz legend in what would have been her 100th year. Tony Award nominee Montego Glover-who mesmerized audiences in the recent musical Sousatzka at Toronto's Elgin Theatre-joins fellow Broadway star Capathia Jenkins and singer-songwriter Sy Smith, as they deliver timeless classics like "Blues in the Night", "They Can't Take That Away from Me", and many more. A few top hits by other jazz greats such as Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington are also included in the program.

On June 10 and 11, the TSO presents CA-NA-DA! The heartwarming program, conducted by Lucas Waldin and featuring renowned Toronto jazz singer Heather Bambrick, is a nostalgic journey through the best of popular music from Canadian stage and screen. Classic tunes include "The Hockey Theme" (from Hockey Night in Canada); a symphonic suite from Canada's longest-running musical, based on one of the country's most beloved books, Anne of Green Gables; the treasured 1979 Canadian classic "Log Driver's Waltz"; and much more.

On June 14 and 15, TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts The Seven Deadly Sins. The title piece was composed in 1933 by Kurt Weill to a libretto by Bertolt Brecht, after both had fled Nazi Germany. A satirical "sung ballet," the piece is a new, semi-staged production directed by Toronto's own Joel Ivany, who is currently the Program Director for Opera at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The Seven Deadly Sins-sung in English-brings together a brilliant, all-Canadian cast: Wallis Giunta (mezzo-soprano), Isaiah Bell (tenor), Owen McCausland (tenor), Geoffrey Sirrett (baritone), Stephen Hegedus (bass-baritone), and Jennifer Nichols (dancer & choreographer), with lighting design by Jason Hand, and costume design by Krista Dowson. The production includes filmed segments conceived and directed by Jennifer Nichols and Chris Monette. The evening also features Barber's poignant Adagio for Strings, and Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (1936), which has been featured in several popular films, including Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1977). The June 15 performance is presented in partnership with Pride Toronto.

On June 17, the TSO continues to celebrate Canadian music and its many genres with a much-anticipated performance by Carly Rae Jepsen. The Canadian singer, songwriter, and actress shares the stage with long-time collaborator Tavish Crowe (Musical Director and guitarist) and the TSO, under the musical direction of Canadian conductor Lucas Waldin. This concert, part of the TSO's Canada Mosaic-a Canada 150 Signature Project-is sold out.

The 2016/17 season culminates with Carmina Burana, June 21-24. Carl Orff's thrilling work is based on 24 medieval poems from the Carmina Burana collection that the composer encountered in 1934. Soprano Aline Kutan, countertenor Daniel Taylor, baritone Phillip Addis, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Toronto Children's Chorus sing of love, desire, and the dangers of earthly pleasures. The program also brings the marvellous Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti, performing Szymanowski's flamboyant Violin Concerto No. 2.

As part of the TSO's Canada Mosaic project, some of these concerts will begin with a two-minute orchestral work called a Sesquie, to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary.

Canada Mosaic is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group.
The 2016/17 season is dedicated to H. Thomas Beck in recognition of his vital and long-standing support of the TSO.

Scotia Wealth Management is the Pops Series Presenting Sponsor.
Air Canada is the Official Airline of the TSO and the Presenting Sponsor of the Light Classics Saturday Series and Masterworks Encore Series.
Economical Insurance is the Casual Concert Series Presenting Sponsor.

Twitter: @TorontoSymphony

About the TSO: Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada's most important cultural institutions, recognized internationally. Music Director Peter Oundjian leads the TSO with a commitment to innovative programming and audience development through a broad range of performances that showcase the exceptional talents of the Orchestra along with a roster of distinguished guest artists and conductors. The TSO also serves the larger community with TSOUNDCHECK, the original under-35 ticket program; the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; and music-education programs that reach tens of thousands of students each year.

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